Liberty will host Duke for both teams' 2016-17 season opener, Friday at 6 p.m. inside the Vines Center.
Game Day Central Page Liberty Women's Basketball Game Notes Game Time: 6 p.m. Official Tipoff: 6:05 p.m.
TV Coverage: Liberty Flames Sports Network – TV WFFP ESPN3 Big South Network Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Mike Tilley Color Commentator: Kelley Deyo Radio Coverage: Liberty Flames Sports Network – Radio WQLU 90.9 FM The Light Play-By-Play Broadcaster: Jamie Hall
Today's Game Liberty will tip off its 42nd season of women's basketball Friday at 6 p.m. when it welcomes Duke to the Vines Center for the first time. The new-look Lady Flames will be seeking their first-ever win over the Blue Devils, their first season-opening win at home since Nov. 13, 2009 and their first victory over an ACC foe since a Dec. 30, 2008 triumph at Virginia Tech.
The "Starting Five" - Liberty's Top Storylines 1) Liberty is picked fourth in the Big South (its lowest preseason projection since 1996-97) after losing 90.6 percent of its scoring from last season. The 2015-16 Lady Flames went 20-13, finishing as the Big South regular-season and tournament runner-up and making their second Postseason WNIT appearance.
2) More than half of Liberty's players (8 of 15) have not yet made their debut in a Lady Flames uniform, including seven freshmen.
3) Liberty is 0-4 all-time against Duke, including a 79-41 setback at Cameron Indoor Stadium last season (Dec. 17, 2015). Only five Lady Flames who appeared in that game are still on the roster. On the flip side, Duke is 22-0 all-time versus Big South opponents.
4) Friday's game will mark the third time in four seasons Liberty is playing host to an ACC opponent at the Vines Center, following Virginia on Nov. 19, 2013 (L, 61-60) and NC State on Nov. 20, 2015 (L, 61-53). This is the first time the Lady Flames have ever opened their season with an ACC foe.
5) Audrey Rettstatt, the Lady Flames' only senior, will make her return to the court following an ACL injury on Dec. 2, 2015 which cut her junior season short.
Liberty vs. Duke at a Glance Series History Series Record: Duke leads, 4-0. Current Streak: Duke has won all four previous meetings. Series Record at Liberty: First meeting Last Meeting Overall: Duke 79, Liberty 41 (Dec. 17, 2015 at Duke)
Coaching Matchup Liberty Head Coach: Carey Green Overall Record (Seasons): 403-141 (18th Season) Record at Liberty (Seasons): Same Record vs. Duke: 0-4
Duke Head Coach: Joanne P. McCallie Overall Record (Seasons): 561-213 (25th Season) Record at Duke (Seasons): 245-65 (10th Season) Record vs. Liberty: 1-0
Notes and Anecdotes • Duke's first-ever visit to the Vines Center will mark the fourth straight season the Blue Devils are opening on the road.
• Duke went 20-12 last season, but saw its streak of 21 straight NCAA Tournament appearances come to an end.
• Led by Rebecca Greenwell's 26 points, No. 13/11 Duke posted a 79-41 victory over Liberty at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Dec. 17, 2015. Only five of the 14 Lady Flames who played in that game are still on the roster and Jordan Woods (3 points) is the only current player who scored against Duke last season.
• Both Liberty and Duke are picked lower than usual in their respective preseason conference polls. The Lady Flames' No. 4 listing is their lowest since a No. 7 ranking entering the 1996-97 season. Meanwhile, the Blue Devils are picked to finish No. 6 in the ACC this season. Duke has not appeared that low in the poll since heading into the 1993-94 season at No. 6.
• Duke lost last year's leading scorer and rebounder Azura Stevens (18.9 ppg, 9.6 rpg), as she transferred to UConn after the season. However, the Blue Devils will gain the services of All-American guard Lexie Brown this season, following her transfer from Maryland. Big things are also expected from freshman Leaonna Odom, a 6-2 forward from Lompoc, Calif.
• Duke, which is 22-0 all-time against Big South opponents, will face a pair of Big South foes during the opening week of the 2016-17 season. After opening its year at Liberty on Friday, the Blue Devils will host Longwood on Tuesday (Nov. 15).
Liberty in Season Openers All-Time Record in Season Openers: 20-21 Record Breakdown: 14-6 (Home), 6-10 (Road), 0-5 (Neutral) Carey Green's Record in Season Openers: 8-9 Record Breakdown: 5-2 (Home), 3-5 (Road), 0-2 (Neutral) Current Streak: Liberty won last year's season opener, tipping off its year with a win for the first time since 2011-12. Last Year's Season Opener: Liberty 74, Appalachian State 68 (Nov. 13, 2015 at ASU) Liberty's Last Loss in an Opener: Charlotte 79, Liberty 77 (Nov. 14, 2014 at Liberty) Note: Liberty is seeking its first season-opening victory at the Vines Center since Nov. 13, 2009, when the Lady Flames defeated Winston-Salem State, 71-26.
Liberty in November All-Time Record in November: 80-58 Carey Green's Record in November: 45-40 Record This November: 0-0 (4 games remaining) Last Five November Records: 2011-12 - 3-3 2012-13 - 3-3 2013-14 - 2-5 2014-15 - 4-2 2015-16 - 2-4
On This Date Liberty is 2-0 all-time on Nov. 11, including wins over Norfolk State (2006, 91-53) and UNCG (2011, 61-46). This is the earliest the Lady Flames are tipping off a season since the 2013-14 campaign, when Liberty opened with a 66-56 setback at Charlotte on Nov. 8, 2013.
Against the ACC Liberty is seeking its first win over an ACC opponent since Dec. 30, 2008. That day, the Lady Flames notched a 45-43 victory at Virginia Tech in the championship game of the Hokie Hardwood Classic. The Lady Flames are opening their season against an ACC foe for the first time in program history. Friday's game will mark the third time in four seasons Liberty is playing host to an ACC opponent at the Vines Center, following Virginia on Nov. 19, 2013 (L, 61-60) and NC State on Nov. 20, 2015 (L, 61-53).
Tar Heel State Tussle Liberty is opening its season against a team from North Carolina for the fourth straight season, following back-to-back season openers versus Charlotte in 2013-14 and 2014-15 and the Lady Flames' 2015-16 lid-lifter at Appalachian State. The Lady Flames, who went 8-5 against North Carolina-based foes in 2015-16, have 10 games scheduled against Tar Heel State opponents in 2016-17. Three current Lady Flames have North Carolina ties, including Kaila Ballard (native of Gatesville). Additionally, Stephanie Patton graduated from Hayesville High School in Hayesville, N.C., and Jordan Woods spent her first year of college at Davidson in Davidson, N.C.
Unfamiliar Role Liberty was picked fourth in the Big South preseason poll, as voted upon by the conference's head coaches. This is the first time since 1996-97 (seventh place) that the Lady Flames have been listed outside the top two in the preseason poll. The 1996-97 Lady Flames went on to capture the first Big South championship in program history. This is also the first time since 2009-10 that Liberty is not represented on the Big South preseason all-conference team. That season, Devon Brown and Avery Warley were first team All-Big South performers at the end of the year.
Big Shoes to Fill Five seniors graduated from last year's team, including Katelyn Adams, Sadalia Ellis, Jaymee Fisher-Davis, Catherine Kearney and Ashley Rininger. Adams, Kearney and Rininger each stand 6-4 or taller.
• The Lady Flames won 117 games in five years (Katelyn Adams, Catherine Kearney and Ashley Rininger's time on campus), including three Big South titles and three NCAA Tournament appearances.
• The Lady Flames' five seniors totaled 4,260 career points and 2,829 career rebounds.
Big Shoes to Fill, Part 2 • In total, Liberty lost 90.6 percent of its scoring from the 2015-16 season.
• Liberty's current roster has totaled 229 points (KK Barbour is the leader with 65) and 201 rebounds (Barbour is the leader with 61) for the Lady Flames.
• Current Lady Flames have started five career games, including three starts by Audrey Rettstatt and two by Sheana Vega.
• Rettstatt is the only player on this year's team who has ever scored in double figures, while Barbour is the only Lady Flame with a double-digit rebounding game to her credit.
New Kids on the Block Eight Lady Flames are set to make their debut in a Liberty uniform this season, including one junior (Nene Johnson) and seven freshmen (Kaila Ballard, Keyen Green, Iva Ilic, Kierra Johnson-Graham, Ola Makurat, Lela Sellers and Kaitlyn Stovall).
Notable Debuts Below is a look at some of the top performances by freshmen making their Lady Flames debuts:
Elena Kisseleva: 30 points, 8 rebounds (11/23/96 vs. Bluefield) Devon Brown: 26 points, 7 rebounds (11/13/09 vs. Winston-Salem State) Megan Frazee: 17 points, 10 rebounds (11/18/05 vs. Virginia Union) Reagan Miller: 17 points (11/11/11 at UNCG)
Miller is the most recent Lady Flame to start in her first career game as a freshman.
One of a Kind Audrey Rettstatt is the lone senior on the Lady Flames' 2016-17 roster. This is the second time in four seasons that Liberty has had only one senior. Jasmine Gardner was the team's lone senior in 2013-14.
International Flavor This year's roster includes two foreign-born freshmen, including Iva Ilic (Croatia) and Ola Makurat (Poland). They are Liberty's first international players since Jelena Antic of Macedonia wrapped up her time with the Lady Flames in 2010-11. Tradition of Excellence All of the following trends are current through the 2015-16 season unless noted. • The Lady Flames recorded their 20th straight winning season in 2015-16. The streak started in 1996-97, the first year the Lady Flames won the Big South Championship title.
• Liberty is one of only eight NCAA Division I women's basketball teams with an active streak of 20+ winning seasons, also including Connecticut, Duke, Georgia, Green Bay, Notre Dame, Stanford and Tennessee.
• Liberty has posted nine straight 20-win seasons and 18 20-win campaigns in the last 20 years.
• Liberty is one of 15 NCAA Division I women's basketball squads which has won 20 or more games in each of the last nine seasons. The list also includes Baylor, Connecticut, DePaul, Duke, FGCU, Fresno State, Green Bay, James Madison, Maryland, Middle Tennessee, Notre Dame, Stanford, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
• Liberty has notched 17 consecutive seasons with 10+ Big South wins.
• The Lady Flames have captured 15 Big South regular-season titles in 19 years and 16 Big South Championship crowns in the last 20 seasons.
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